Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Art History to Architecture

I will be applying for the M. Arch 1 this next year and had a few questions for you wise ones. I am an Art History major with a minor in Architectural History as well. I began my college career as an architecture major but found out about the M. Arch 1 path and decided that it would be a better idea to major in a field aside from architecture for my undergrad. Anyways, I did take two sophomore level studios and got some work that was not so bad. The question is, should I include this work in my portfolio, or would it be a better idea just to leave it out because of my degree in art history? Also, if I include the models but have lost the technical drawings for the projects, should I redo them by hand, or do them in CAD?


First, congrats on your decision to pursue the Master of Architecture; further, I applaud your decision to first pursue your degree in Art History.

As to your question if you should include work from your sophomore studios, I suggest that you first contact each architecture program to which you are applying and ask them their opinion. As a portfolio is to demonstrate creative work be it architecture work or not, the work from your sophomore work is creative work; what else are you including in your portfolio?

To the extent possible, I would redraw the drawings if the originals were done by hand. Typically, architecture programs want work to be submitted as was done for the course, but again, ask the question of the programs.

I wish you the best in your applying.

Dr. Architecture

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Math Teacher to Architect.

I am considering making a career switch into architecture, and I’m looking for some advice. I am 25 years old, and I teach math to 7th graders in Arizona. I fell into the teaching profession by accident, and I have been attempting to figure out the next step in my career for some time. For the past year, I have tossed around the idea of working as either a contractor, engineer, urban planner, or architect, and I have recently begun researching going back to school for my M.Arch. I have always been interested in math, science, art, how things work, and building structures.

When I was younger I spent hours building with legos, Erector sets, car models, and 3-D puzzles, and while it’s been awhile since I’ve used anything similar, I still find that I can get lost in 2-D puzzles and problem solving. All this explains my interest in researching a career in architecture, and I’ve learned the amount of work and time that goes into studying to become an architect (at least a year to get all my pre-requisite classes in order, 3.5 years of study in a M.Arch program, 3+ years as an intern, and then studying for licensure). Therefore, I want to be sure that I am truly passionate about architecture before I pursue the discipline as a career.

I have been reading your blog for the past week, and I have come across some information about summer career discovery programs: LAIAD, Harvard, UCLA, and Berkeley. I’m curious if you know of any other summer programs that might help me explore my interest in architecture?


Congrats on your consideration of architecture as a new discipline. I appreciate you already researching the previous posts on the blog. The next best resource for summer programs is -- - An updated list for summer 2011 should be posted at the end of January. Most of these are targeted for high school students.

Aside from summer programs, visit either UArizona or Arizona State as both have architecture programs; meet with students, faculty, attend lectures, shadow a course or two. If possible, contact an architecture firm to do the same. If you do not have any art in your background, take a drawing course to develop work for your eventual portfolio that you will need when you apply to graduate programs.

Finally, to compliment my blog, consider obtaining Becoming an Architect, 2nd Edition. Best wishes and you find out about other summer programs, let me know.

Dr. Architecture

Sunday, December 12, 2010

MArch vs. Post-Professional Degree

I was curious if you have encountered many B.Arch grads pursuing an M.arch after licensure? I graduated with a B.Arch a few years ago, have about three years of work under my belt and have started sitting for sections of the ARE, while life is pretty uncomplicated and I have the time. However, I would like to keep the option of teaching open (my understanding is the M.Archs are necessary if one wants to teach later on) and do still have a strong desire to go back to school in the next couple of years. I myself don't know anyone that has taken this track but I just wonder if it does happen occasionally and would like to hear your thoughts on the idea.

First, congrats on your obtaining your BArch and a desire to pursue additional education.

As you BArch is a first professional degree, you do not need to pursue the MArch, instead seek a post-professional degree. At some institutions, it may be called a Master of Architecture; at other institutions, it may be called either a Master of Science in Architecture or by another name.

NCARB maintains a list of post-professional degrees available as you may gain IDP credit by pursuing a post-professional degree.

While most accredited architecture programs will probably prefer candidates with a post-professional degree, you may be able to teach with only your BArch if you apply to some programs or seek a teaching position within a community college.

I would advise that you not pursue a post-professional degree ONLY to have the credentials for pursuing teaching; instead, determine what aspect of architecture you wish to pursue and seek a program that fits your interest.


Dr. Architecture

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Master of Architecture - Options

My husband is an active duty marine and I am limited on my educational opportunities. I am trying to further my career while moving frequently to different bases. I am strongly considering enrolling in the BS program of Interior Design from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Online. An online program seems to be the best route for me. If pursuing the M.Arch I path, are there any BA/BS programs that aren't recognized or that won't transfer when pursuing a Masters in Architecture? When pursuing a Masters from a grad school, is there any discrimination towards previous BA/BS obtained, or is it all fair game?

In one respect, you can obtain any undergraduate degree to pursue a Master of Architecture; however, the degree you receive will determine the length of time for the MArch degree.

For example, if you obtain a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies degree or equivalent, a Master of Architecture will typically take two years, but some graduate programs will require three years. Instead, if you obtain a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture, some programs may require you to take more than two years depending on the curriculum of your BA degree and the courses you took.

If your undergraduate degree is in an unrelated discipline, a Master of Architecture degree will take between 3-4 years depending on the institution. This would be the case of your the Interior Design degree you mention in your email. While you could certainly pursue the online program, there are no online 3-4 year Master of Architecture degrees. The Boston Architectural College (BAC) does have a distance MArch, but only for those that have an undergraduate BS in Architectural Studies degree.

Thus, graduate programs do not discriminate but rather accept you where you are given your undergraduate degree.

I certainly appreciate you limits; do the best you can and I wish you well.

Dr. Architecture

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Pre-Architecture Postitions

I am considering pursuing a M.Arch, but before making the time and financial commitment I want more first-hand insight into the profession of architecture, as well as gain some experience to help me through the M.Arch program. A job with an architecture firm would be ideal (I'm willing to do just about any kind of work, as long as I can observe the architects), but I've read those jobs are few and far between. I've read a good alternative is a job with a building construction company. If jobs with architecture firms are indeed difficult to find, what kind of jobs should I look for with construction companies? Do you have any other suggestions for pre-M.Arch jobs?
I can certainly understand your desire to work in the field prior to committing to your studies, but depending on your background, this may be difficult even within a construction company. Many construction companies require union membership.

Instead, I would suggest you attempt to gain informational interviews with architects from different firms - small, large, etc. In this way, you see a diversity of experiences to aid in your decision.

Use the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects in your region or simply the Yellow Pages to aid you in identifying architects with whom to interview and meet. Are you near a school of architecture? Do the same with a school?

Dr. Architecture

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Architecture Programs

I know a student (B, average math, no design background, only art is ceramics) who wishes to enter an architecture program. He could obtain an internship with an architectural firm in India first semester and enter college in the spring. He'd like to attend a college next fall where he can transfer into a pre-professional architecture program if he cannot be admitted to one directly. He lives in Virginia, and certainly cannot get into VPI or UVa. Any suggestions?

I would suggest you focus on programs that offer the four year pre-professional degree. These degrees would be most flexible if he pursues the internship or is not directly admitted. You could pursue any program in the country, but programs in the near region include the following:

Catholic University of America (Washington, DC)
Cincinnati, University of (Cincinnati, OH)
Clemson University (Clemson, SC)
Hampton University (Hampton, VA) - 5 1/2 Master of Architecture, but in Virginia
Kent State University (Kent, OH)
Kentucky, University of (Lexington, KY)
Maryland, University (College Park, MD)
Memphis, University of (Memphis, TN)
Miami University (Oxford, OH)
Morgan State University (Baltimore, MD)
North Carolina at Charlotte, University of (Charlotte, NC)
Ohio State University (Columbus, OH)

Another option would be community colleges that have articulate courses with an architecture program. For many 4+2 programs, the first year or two is mainly general education courses which would allow him to take these courses and transfer after his first year.

Dr. Architecture

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Architecture - Career Decision

I am interested in architecture and I just finished high school this year and graduated with science subjects,physics, chemistry, mathematics and English in my home country Tanzania, out of the six options of courses I was asked to choose, I later was chosen to do computer science... is computer science related to architecture? Can i just pursue that degree then do architecture later? Or will I have lost a lot of time by then? And what will be the major requirements since I don't have a portfolio of work....Another thing is that I have an opportunity to study a foundational course in the UK at Sheffield Int. College which will direct me to Structural engineering and architectural studies. What is the difference between this and architecture itself?

My great desire is to be an architect. I just need to know what path I ought to take so that I won't waste time and later regret

First understand that my expertise is in becoming an architect in the United States. With that said, I would suggest to you that computer science is not related to architecture. In the US, you could certainly pursue architecture (Master of Architecture) after you received a degree in computer science. It would certainly take you longer.

To apply to a Master of Architecture degree, you will definitely need a portfolio of creative work. If possible, take courses in art, freehand drawing to produce materials for your portfolio.

Below are definitions of the two terms.

Structural engineering is a field of engineering dealing with the analysis and design of structures that support or resist loads. Structural engineering is usually considered a specialty within civil engineering, but it can also be studied in its own right.

Architecture is the art and science of designing and erecting buildings and other physical structure

In summary, if your passion is architecture, you may wish to consider studying it as soon as you are able. I wish you the best.

Dr. Architecture

Thursday, November 25, 2010

IDP Hours

I came across your blog"ARCH Career" and found various posts which is very helpful.
I am B.Arch graduate from India graduated in 2008. I am currently in San Francisco, CA.
I just got in a part time job now, and I want to know if I can add those part time working hours to my IDP? Also I worked in India for 1 year in an Architectural Firm. I worked 6 months in 1 Firm, another 6 months in a different firm. Can I add these too to my credit hours? If so do I have to get a letter from my Previous Employee who hired me(From India)?

How do I start my IDP Hours? Do I have to register before I start accumulating my IDP hours?
I know I asked way too may questions.Sorry about that. I asked many people and no one seems to really know about the Foreign Degree.

I would really appreciate if you could help me regarding this.

First, I am pleased to know that you have found the ARCHCareers blog helpful.

Now, the best place for all of your answers on IDP is NCARB --

Everything you possibly want to know is outlined in the IDP Guidelines also available from the website. For example, with respect to working part-time, it counts if it meets this requirement.

Effective 1 July 2008:
To earn training hours in most work settings, you must meet the following requirements:
FULL TIME: 32 hours per week for a minimum period of eight consecutive weeks
PART TIME: At least 15 hours per week for a minimum period of eight consecutive weeks

Normally, you experience in India would count, however, NCARB now has the six-month rule which means you must document your experience within six months; again, review the IDP Guidelines.

To begin, start a NCARB Council Record -

I also found the attached Path to Licensure Handbook from the AIA California Council which may be helpful. --

Dr. Architecture

Monday, November 22, 2010

Seeking Employment - Frustration

Dear Dr. Architecture, I am a 23 year old who just recently graduated from a University with my Masters Degree. Unfortunately I attained my degree in Architecture. Which I guess is one of the worst degrees to have in this economy. I have applied for numerous jobs, but I have not received any responses. Most of the jobs require experience(2-5 years). I cannot become a licensed architect unless I am employed as an architect or intern. Currently, I am working a part time job that does not require a degree, and I have moved back home to California. Do you have any suggestions for me, should I go back to school, is there a better state to find an architect job? I am getting really frustrated, any help you can give me will be greatly appreciated.

Certainly, the profession of architecture has suffered greatly during this economic time, but I would disagree with your statement -- "one of the worst degree ..." I would say the exact opposite.

Someone who has a degree in architecture is probably best equipped for job searching because of a degree in architecture is the best liberal arts degree -- it teaches one to problem solve creatively. Granted, you have been unable to secure employment but perhaps you need to broaden your search and truly analyze the skills you can offer a prospective employer.

I understand that such an approach may postpone your officially becoming an architect but did you know that you can still gain some experience in IDP although not employed.

First, one resource to read is What Color is Your Parachute by Richard Bolles ( It is a book to do, not just read. Also, become connected with the AIA in California; depending on when you graduated, you may still be eligible for free membership ( More specifically, connect with other emerging professionals through programs offered by the AIA. Some chapters have networking programs and support groups for those seeking employment.

Network! Volunteer! Spend eight hours a day seeking! As mentioned before, expand your employer base; what skills do you have to offer a prospective employer and who are those employers that can use your set of skills.

Do not give up! The profession of architecture will need you when the economy recovers.

Dr. Architecture

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Architecture Internships in NYC

I would love to do an Internship in New York.
Could you help me, getting some answers to the many questions I have about how to contact the Architects or better, which Architects.
And also if you do have some information about the J- Visa, as I am from Europe.

Thank you!
I think a number of aspiring architects would love to do an internship in NYC.

Probably your best source for a list of architects in NYC is the following:

As for visa information, below is the best source.

Dr. Architecture

Sunday, November 14, 2010

3D Animation in Architecture

I have a bachelors degree in film from the University of Notre Dame and a certificate in 3D animation from the Center for Digital Imaging Arts at Boston University. I specialize in 3D architectural visualizations and am looking to work for an architecture firm. However, I am having difficulty finding anywhere that is hiring. As I am just starting out in this field, I am unsure how to get my name out or how to find these kinds of positions.

I am located in Williston, VT (right near Burlington) but should theoretically be able to work for anyone from home. Do you have any suggestions of places I should look at or how I should proceed with my career search? I am also happy to provide any other information you think may be useful. I appreciate your help.

Congratulations on your degree from Notre Dame and additional certificate. As you may know, my expertise is truly on becoming an architect, but I will add my insight that I will hope be helpful.

As you wish to work for an architecture firm, you should be connected to architects; the best way is to become a professional affiliate of the American Institute of Architects (AIA - -- AIA Vermont -

Additional resources
SMIBE is a volunteer-run educational and professional organization that supports the advancement of moving image arts about the built environment.

There are too many to list, but simply use a search engine in your internet browser to search for "3D animation in architecture firms." Read professional journals, attend conferences on the topic and even consider beginning a blog on the topic to get you name out. I found this one -- not exactly, but seems to be helpful.

Think of yourself as a business that has a skill/expertise to offer. Who might need your skills? Think big beyond just architecture. Perhaps a realtor does to market their homes for sale.

Dr. Architecture

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Job searching

I was hoping you could help with career questions. I have a liberal arts degree and curious about any work available for someone without a architecture degree, I have some CAD and Photoshop experience. Any advice is greatly appreciated.


First, my expertise is on becoming an architect, but I will share some thoughts.

Given the current job market in architecture, it is highly unlikely that architecture firms will hire anyone without any architecture degree. With that said, you can certainly promote your skills to architecture firms, but you may need more than just SOME CAD and Photoshop experience. Outside of traditional architecture firms, possible other employer types might include engineering firms, landscape architecture firms, interior design firms or even construction companies. You have to think about possible employers who could use your set of skills beyond just the CAD and Photoshop. What skills did you develop from your liberal arts degree that would transferable.

Another thought would be real estate or manufacturers that need employees that know CAD.

Dr. Architecture

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Architecture to Other Design Disciplines

I have a question about my career choice.

I am a freshmen in college and have recently decided to pursue a major in architecture.
Let's say I do get my degree in architecture, but rather than just design buildings I want to maybe seek a job in industrial design or interior architecture. Would I be able to do that with my degree in architecture or should I just pursue a degree in the subjects directly? ex: Industrial design, interior architecture.

Excellent question!

In my opinion, the education that you gain as an architecture student would be well-suited if you later decided to pursue another design related discipline like industrial design or interior design. More than anything, you learn the design process as an architecture student. How to take a problem statement, generate possible solutions, further develop those solutions and eventually finalize a single solution for presentation. You would do something very parallel in industrial design or interior design. The difference is the scale of the problem and the palette of materials and tools you use to develop your solution. For industrial design, you may be asked to design the next child's toy or household appliance while in architecture you are designing a public library or civic building.

With that said, another approach would be to pursue a straight design degree as an undergraduate and upon graduation decide on your next step; if it is architecture, you can pursue the Master of Architecture (3-4 years) for those that do not have an undergraduate degree in architecture. Your option to become an architect has different paths.

Below are some resources --

Finally, a note on interior architecture; this truly is architecture and not a separate discipline like industrial design. Think of a doctor who later specializes in cardiology (heart). An interior architect is an architect who later specializes in interiors.

I hope this helps. Do let me know.

Dr. Architecture

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Online Architecture Courses

I am a licensed general contractor and a certified building official (building inspector). I have providing construction management services for the last 12 years in which I also testified as an expert in construction defect litigation cases. My back ground in construction is in building envelope weather and waterproofing 10 years. Now I want to get my Architectural degree but do not have time during the day. Do you have any information regarding online courses you can share with me?

Thank you for your time


First, congrats on your decision to pursue an architecture degree.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to gain an entire architectural degree via online courses. Two institutions have the closest -- Boston Architectural College and Lawrence Technological University. Some other programs may have a few courses online, but it will be almost impossible to gain an architecture degree without taking in-person classes.

To learn more about programs, visit - NAAB - or

Thanks and best!

Dr. Architecture

BArch vs. MArch: Which is Better?

Hello. I am a high school student in British Columbia, Canada who is interested in becoming an architect!

I am at that point in my high school life (I am a senior) where I am contemplating about post-secondary education. I know that I want to become an architect but at this point, I do not have the necessary qualifications to apply for a B.Arch degree (I have not taken any art lessons before so I do not have a portfolio of work). However, I have been thinking about transferring into a B.Arch program in my second or third year of university.

I came across your blog while I was searching the differences between the B.Arch and the M.Arch degrees, and I wanted to ask you your opinion on this matter. For a person like me who has not taken any art classes before and does not have a portfolio, would you suggest transferring into the B.Arch or waiting to do the M.Arch instead? How important is your art ability (really) and your portfolio when it comes to architecture admissions? I read on College Confidential that the M.Arch does not train students as well because the time frame is more condensed and there is simply not enough time. Somebody said on College Confidential that the B.Arch offers more studio and design classes and time for internships (as students can do them over the summer), and gives students a more solid, rigorous, and complete architecture foundation. Is this really true? Would I be missing out on anything if I choose to do the M.Arch instead? What is the key difference between courses in the B.Arch and the M.Arch? I know that the B.Arch is 5 years rather than 3 or 3.5 years for the M.Arch, but what I'm curious to know is if there is a significant difference or even a difference at all between the courses you take. If so, what are the differences? I am looking to get the most complete and rigorous education in architecture, so these questions for me are most important. For the B.Arch degree, I really love the program at Cooper Union because I feel that it really offers a very complete architectural education! For the M.Arch degree, I have looked at some of the most prestigious graduate architecture schools (Harvard, Yale, Columbia) but have not really seen anything I love. In my outsider's opinion (which is most likely to be wrong!), it seems as if students in the B.Arch program at Cooper Union learn more than the M.Arch students at schools like Harvard, Yale, and Columbia. If you don't mind, I would really like your opinion on this matter as well.

I really hope I am not bombarding you with my questions.

Thank you very much. I look forward to hearing from you!

A - The decision as to whether to pursue the BArch vs. the MArch is a very personal one and based on a number of criteria that you outline below. To help you better understand the different routes to a degree, I have inserted a portion of my book, Becoming an Architect, 2nd Edition for you (Chapter 2 - Education of an Architect.

I suggest you compare the BArch against the MArch (4+2) instead of only the Master of Architecture. Neither one is better, they are just different as you are learning. I do not see why you are not eligible for the BArch - not all programs require a portfolio, plus if you transfer, it will still take you five years to complete the degree. Are you considering U.S. institutions?

I hope the text below helps you. Please follow-up with more questions if needed.

Dr. Architecture

BA in Architectural Studies vs. BS in Architecture

I am an Architecture Pre-major student at Kent State, OH and I am not sure whether I should declare my major as a BA in Architectural Studies or BSc in Architecture. These are the only two Architecture majors that my school offer. I know that the Bsc in Architecture+MArch (4+2 program) at Kent is NAAB accredited but I do not want to necesarily read for my Masters degree at the same school. Since I realize that both the BSc and the BA in Architecture are of Pre-professional level, I would like to know which is a better choice if I am to pursue a MArch at a different school.

Upon review of both programs from the Kent State University website, it is clear that you should pursue the Bachelor of Science in Architecture degree if your intent is to pursue the Master of Architecture at Kent State or any other institution.

You would certainly be eligible to pursue the MArch with the BA in Architectural Studies, but the length of time would be longer (see statement below).

Architectural Studies Program Mission Statement

The program, leading to a Bachelor of Arts in Architectural Studies, is committed to prepare graduates to seek employment in the construction and development industries, develop careers in cultural theory or pursue a three year graduate professional program in architecture, as well as a variety of other professional programs in areas such as landscape architecture, urban planning, law, and business.

Another method to determine the answer to your question is to contact a handful of graduate architecture programs.

Best to you in your decision.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Curious about Architecture

To be honest, I'm not sure what to expect as a response to this email, perhaps some advice I suppose. My name is Ryan Hanson, I'm a Senior Biology student at Brigham Young University-Idaho. You're probably already slightly confused as to why a Senior Biology student is emailing you at all. The truth is, although I'm planning on and preparing for a degree in health care as a physician, I have to admit I've always had an interest in architecture. I guess I doubted my abilities to become a successful architect because I don't consider myself the most creative or artistic person. I do well with science and math and just about anything I truly put my mind towards academically. I feel like I'd enjoy a career as a physician, but I can't help but notice how architectural models and renderings catch my attention every time I see them. I'm intrigued by how buildings look, and how I think they could look better. I love seeing bold, fresh designs and sometimes imagine myself coming up with those designs and seeing them made into real, usable structures.

My dilemma is that I've never had the chance to "test the architectural waters." Now, at age 24, and on the verge of graduating, I wonder if such a dramatic change in direction (from Biology/healthcare to Architecture) would be feasible. Obviously I'm planning on a lot more school to become a doctor, would it be a similar time frame to become an architect at this point? Is the life of an architect very "family-friendly"? And are there possibilities for successful, profitable jobs in Architecture in somewhat rural areas, or is the job market fairly localized to larger cities?

I'd appreciate any advice or insights you have. Thanks for your time and help.

Given that you are about to graduate with a degree in biology, you would be eligible to apply to the Master of Architecture (3-4 years) available at a number of architecture programs. To research programs, visit -- or --.

Once you complete your architecture degree, you would need to complete IDP - Intern Development Program -- Afterwards, you would be eligible to take the ARE - Architect Registration Exam. The degree would be 3-4 years, completing IDP would be from 3-5 years and completing the ARE could be from 1-3 years. I am not sure how that compares to becoming a doctor.

On the surface, you may hear that the life of an architect is not family-friendly, but it is up to you and standing tall to your values. On average, you will certainly work more than 40 hours, but it is not essential.

As for where to practice, it is true that there are more opportunities in urban areas, but you can make it work in more rural areas.

For more details, obtain Becoming an Architect, 2nd edition.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Career in Architecture?

I am an undergraduate freshmen at Purdue University,West Lafayette,IN from India. I came across your blog looking for information on architect and I needed some advice.

At the moment my major is undecided in science and I am thinking of pursuing a career in architect since I have a keen interest in designing. Unfortunately I am running out of time and need to decide my major, since grade 8th i wanted to do architect but was not that sure of it but now I am sure that I want to become an architect.I am more interested in designing houses but do not know which major to choose. If I do landscape architect will I be able to design houses?

I hope you can guide me through this and will be highly obliged.

Your timing is exceptional! If possible, plan to attend the Chicago Architecture + Design College Day on this Saturday, October 16 from 10-3pm on the campus of IIT. You would be able to visit with 35 architecture programs.

As you are freshman, you may wish to consider transferring to a university that offers an architecture program; for a list of programs, visit - -. Otherwise, you can stay at Purdue to pursue a related major and pursue a Master of Architecture at the graduate level.

Also, consider obtaining Becoming an Architect, 2nd edition available from

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Starting IDP and EESA

Hello Dr. Architecture,
I have recently completed BArch (5years) from accredited school of architecture in india now i am thinking to come for internship in USA (I have got offer as intern too). So my question is do I become eligible for registering and starting IDP process as my internship is going on over there and if soo how many years of office experience is needed to be elligible for licensure exam to become licensed architect over there or its necessary to go for MArch degree or so from U.S
university since my B.arch degree is from India?

Any insights you may have would be greatly appreciated

Thank you so much for your valuable time.

Congrats on your recently completed BArch.

To learn more about IDP (Intern Development Program), visit NCARB at; download the IDP Guidelines (see below).

when can I start?
Your “IDP eligibility date” is the date after which you are able to earn IDP experience. Qualifying experience must be earned on or after your IDP eligibility date. Once your IDP eligibility date has been established, it is set for all experience earned on or after that date.
Under the IDP eligibility dates effective 1 October 2010, the earliest eligibility date you can obtain is 1 October 2010. For experience earned prior to 1 October 2010, you must comply with the eligibility dates in effect prior to 1 October 2010.
For experience earned prior to 1 October 2010:
For experience earned prior to 1 October 2010, you must comply with the IDP eligibility dates and documentation outlined in Appendix A.
For experience earned on or after 1 October 2010:
For experience earned on or after 1 October 2010, you can earn IDP experience1 once you have successfully established:
1. Enrollment in a NAAB/CACB-accredited degree program. [link to form1] 2. Enrollment in a pre-professional architecture degree program at a school
that offers a NAAB/CACB-accredited degree program. [link to form 2]
3. Employment in work setting A after obtaining a U.S. high school diploma, General Education Degree (GED) equivalent, or comparable foreign degree. [link to form 3]

The overall IDP requirement is 5600 hours which is not quite a full three years if working full-time.

the IDp training requirement
In order to satisfy the IDP training requirement, you must earn 5,600 hours of experience. You earn training hours when you are employed in work settings recognized by your state registration board. Of the 5,600 hours required for completion of IDP, 3,720 hours are considered core minimum hours. Core minimum hours are earned in four training categories that include 16 training areas. The additional 1,880 hours required are considered elective hours.

In terms of your education, you would NOT need to necessarily pursue the Master of Architecture, but you would need to have your education from India evaluated against the NCARB Education Standard via EESA - Education Evaluation Services for Architects --

I hope this all helps!

Dr. Architecture

Thursday, September 30, 2010

NAAB Accredited MArch or Not?

I just recently discovered your blog and was hoping that you would be able to help me out.

I have a BS in Architecture which in not an accredited degree ( something I did not know until close to graduation) and I have been working in the field for the last 5 years or so. My IDP is complete and I've started taking my licensure exams. I am testing for the state of California which does not currently require my education to be NAAB approved if I have enough work experience. Because of the economy and my own interests I am looking at going back to grad school however I am 28 and don't want to go back to school for another 3 years. There are one year programs that I am looking at that are also not accredited but are more specific to my interests. For example UCLA's M Arch II program.

I am wondering if it is unwise to consider going back for another unaccredited degree even though CA. doesn't specifically care about that and I can get licensed without it. I'm not totally sure how picky firms are when it comes to the details of a degree as well. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

First, congratuations on your undergraduate degree and work in the profession; I am sorry that you were not aware that your BS degree was not an accredited degree.

To directly address you question - I offer the following: whether you decide to pursue a post-professional degree (MS in Architecture) depends on whether you wish to ever become licensed in a state or jurisdiction that requires an accredited degree (most states). If you intend to stay and practice exclusively in California, pursuing such a degree may be a good choice.

With that said, I would still suggest you pursue the accredited Master of Architecture. I say this because not only does the degree provide you options in terms of licensure but also because you would benefit from such a degree. In addition, many institutions require a professional Master of Architecture to be able to pursue the post-professional degree.

Thus, decide based on your future career goals with regards to being licensed.

I hope this helps! Do contact me again if you have any further questions.

Dr. Architecture

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

NCARB YouTube - Path to Licensure

NCARB has just launched a YouTube video outlining the Student Path to Licensure; check it out!

Dr. Architecture

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Advice for BArch

My son started his undergraduate studies for B-ARCH this fall in AUD ( American university in Dubai) UAE, which is a 5 year architecture program. Now we are concerned that this university is not accredited by NAAB and he can face difficulties after graduation.

Also he wants to study in some good accredited US or Canadian University.
He finished high school in June 2010 from American school of Doha ( a good and reputed high school in the region).

Please advise when he should apply for transfer and which universities can give him admission as his GPA in HIGH SCHOOL was around 2.0 and SAT SCORES were Maths-620, English 540 and 450.

First, your son's degree - BArch from AUD - would not be able to be accredited from NAAB as NAAB only accredits architecture degrees from the U.S. Other than that, I can address other difficulties he may face.

If he wishes to study in the U.S. or Canada, use the following resources --


As for when to apply for transfer, it may depend on which degree he pursues. My suggestion would be to consider applying sooner not later. If applying to a BArch, it is difficult to transfer beyond the first year of the curriculum unless you have design studios.

Another source is --

I hope this helps!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Historical Architecture

I am considering a degree in Historical Architecture or Historical preservation. I last studied in London on a study abroad program but due to some issues with the Community College I went through to study abroad I am currently not enrolled in college. I was working on a degree in history and am currently lacking three classes towards my associates. My GPA reflected on my official transcript does not reflect my London grades (although the grades themselves are shown on the transcript) and therefore my current GPA is low and inaccurate. Due to the low GPA I don't know if I can get in to a major university to continue my studies and therefore am trying to figure out what my options are at this time.

While I was studying abroad I took a class in English Palaces and Country homes and really enjoyed it. I am considering switching my major. Since I've been having such a difficult time with my grades and the school I have been attending, I was thinking about basically starting over on my schooling and going towards a bachelors degree in Art History then moving onto a Masters in Historical Preservation/Historical Architecture. I was just wondering if this is the right path for me to pursue or if there was a bachelor's degree you would suggest that would be better than art history to help me go on to my Masters in Preservation.

My long term goal is to go back to England and help their national trust with the preservation of the country homes and old churches.

Any suggestions you can provide will be greatly appreciated.


It is truly hard to determine if the path of historic preservation/historical architecture is the right path for you based on just your comments below, but I outline the steps to help you.

Separate from the difficulties with your issues with the community college, I would suggest you follow your heart. First, do some assessment to confirm your interest in historic preservation. Read up on the topic, talk with professionals in the field, etc. Continue to explore the discipline including research programs; visit the following -- -- to learn about degree programs at both undergraduate and graduate levels.

Once you have do some assessment and explored, you can better make an informed decision on if this path is right for you. When the decision is made, you can make plans to meet your goal.

Although you are not in school now, see if you can still use their Career Center to research the field or meet with a career counselor. All of these steps can help you in your path.

Dr. Architecture

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Art History to Architecture

Firstly, I just wanted to say that I am a huge fan of your blog. That said, I have a question about preparation for graduate school. I am currently a junior at UC Santa Barbara and I'm majoring in art history with an emphasis in architectural history. The program is not accredited so I will need to pursue a M.ARCH when I graduate. Besides maintaing a high GPA, what are some things that I can do in these next two years to help me prepare for admission to a graduate school? I want to go to a top architecture school so I would like to get a head start on whatever it is that you recommend.


Thanks for being a fan! Also, congratulations on your desire to pursue architecture.

First, the program you are attending is not an architecture program and could not be accredited. With that said, you will wish to pursue a MArch (3-4 years) for those with a degree in a discipline other than architecture like your art history degree.

In addition to stellar academic performance, take courses in art/freehand drawing to create work for your portfolio. Also, connect with some faculty who will write your letters of recommendation. Finally, begin to research programs via the following:

ARCHSchools -

To the extent possible, visit an architecture program to learn more about the process of applying and the curriculum of a MArch. There is not one directly nearby to Santa Barbara, but perhaps visit LA to visit USC, UCLA, or SCI-ARC.

Dr. Architecture

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Architecture to Community Service

I graduated from North Carolina State University with my BEDA (4 year degree) in 2007. I worked at a small firm for a little over a year, but decided to step away from the profession because I saw that most of the work I did mostly served the wealthy, and not those individuals who, in my opinion, really needed good design because of poor housing and living conditions. So, needless to say, I walked away from the profession in 2008 only to discover in 2010 that there are Architects & Firms, specifically Design Corps located in Raleigh, that seek to "create positive change in communities by providing architecture and planning services." I was thrilled; and also a little disappointed that I did not learn about this earlier.

So here I am. After working in an unrelated field - Project Administration & Volunteer Coordination - I am wanting to jump back in the profession & start a non-profit design group that offers good design to those who otherwise could not afford it. My question for you is, what would be the best way to go about this? I do have my Bachelors in Environmental & Architectural Design from an accredited school, but was wondering if it would be necessary for me to go back to school to get my bachelors or master's when my goal is not to become a licensed architect (as of now). My goal is to focus more on residential and community revitalization.

Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!


First, congrats on making the decision to use your architectural education towards good design.

Regardless of the venue - architectural firm, community design center, non-profit, I suspect you will have more success by obtaining your Master of Architecture and become licensed. It will create more options for you in the long run.

To start, I would contact organizations such as Design Corps, Peace Corps, Architecture for Humanity and others to inquire about becoming involved. Do you volunteer?

Is there a way to pursue a paid position with them.

Below a number of groups to pursue. Another is Assn. for Community Design -

Just get started and see where it leads you. Keep learning and asking questions until you get what you want and need.

1201 New York Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20525
AmeriCorps is a network of national service programs that engage more than 50,000 Americans each year in intensive service to meet critical needs in education, public safety, health, and the environment.

Architects without Borders
295 Neva Street
Sebastopol, CA 95472
Architects without borders is a non-governmental, not-for-profit, volunteer humanitarian relief organization

Architecture for Humanity
848 Folsom, Suite 201
San Francisco, CA 94107-1173
(415) 963-3511
Architecture for Humanity promotes architectural and design solutions to global, social and humanitarian crises. Through competitions, workshops, educational forums, partnerships with aid organizations and other activities, Architecture for Humanity creates opportunities for architects and designers from around the world to help communities in need.

Architects, Designers, and Planners for Social Responsibility
P.O. Box 18375
Washington, DC 20036-8375
(415) 974-1306
Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR) works for peace, environmental protection, ecological building, social justice, and the development of healthy communities.

Association for Community Design (ACD)
P.O. Box 712308
Los Angeles, CA 90071-7308 USA
Established in 1977, the Association for Community Design (ACD) is a network of individuals, organizations, and institutions committed to increasing the capacity of planning and design professions to better serve communities. ACD serves and supports practitioners, educators, and organizations engaged in community-based design and planning.

Design Corps
302 Jefferson Street #250
Raleigh, NC 27605
(919) 828-0048
Founded in 1991, Design Corps is a private nonprofit that was created to coordinate design services that help create responsive affordable housing. Respect for those housed, the local communities and cultures involved are encouraged. Motto: Design for the 98% Without Architects.

Habitat For Humanity International
121 Habitat St.
Americus, GA 31709-3498
(229) 924-6935
Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit Christian housing ministry that works to build or renovate homes for the inadequately sheltered in the United States and in twenty countries around the world.

The Mad Housers, Inc.
534 Permalume Place
Atlanta, GA 30318
(404) 806-6233
Mad Housers, Inc. is an Atlanta-based non-profit corporation engaged in charitable work, research, and education. Their primary endeavor is building temporary, emergency shelters for homeless individuals and families regardless of race, creed, national origin, gender, religion, age, family status, sexual orientation, etc.

Peace Corps
Paul D. Coverdell Peace Corps Headquarters
1111 20th Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20526
Established in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy, the Peace Corps has shared with the world America's most precious resource—its people. Peace Corps Volunteers serve in 72 countries in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Central and South America, Europe, and the Middle East. Collaborating with local community members, volunteers work in areas like education, youth outreach and community development, the environment, and information technology.

Public Architecture
1126 Folsom St., #3
San Francisco, CA 94102-1397
(415) 861-8200
Established in 2002, Public Architecture is a nonprofit organization that identifies and solves practical problems of human interaction in the built environment. It acts as a catalyst for public discourse through education, advocacy, and the design of public spaces and amenities.

Dr. Architecture

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Advice, Please!

Thanks for running a blog of service to things related to Architecture.

I just finished my B.Arch. (5 Year course) from School of Arch & Planning, Anna University, Chennai, India. I would like to acquire a NAAB accredited M.Arch. from USA, for which most universities suggest M.Arch of two years duration for NAAB accredited M.Arch. It would be a great help from experienced people like you, if you can clear my queries below:

1- I am interested in an M.Arch. with concentration towards Architecture Design, but NOT Urban Design/Sustainable/Environmental/Renovation. But most US universities offer concentration in Urban Design only. Please suggest some University names for architecture design concentration.

2- After M.Arch. before the long process of licensing, do firms allow me to work with my M.Arch. so that I can earn back my spent on university.

3- Though difficult to say, which parts of US have more Architecture firms, I mean opportunities wise for juniors like me.

Thank you so much for your valuable time.
Thanks for your kind words --

1) To learn more about architecture programs in the U.S., I suggest you search via the following website that allows you to search based on keyword -- --

2) Yes, with the Master of Architecture, you would be able to work assuming you have the legal authority to work in the U.S. As an international student, you may participate in CPT and OPT, but it does limit how long you can work after graduation.

3) I have no way of knowing where most of the architects are, but there would certainly be most firms in urban areas like New York, Chicago, Los Angles, etc.

I wish you well!

Dr. Architecture

Friday, September 10, 2010

Starting IDP

I want to start my IDP process, but my degree is BA in Architecture, but not NAAB approved. I did my research and I know I can compensate that with experience in NY State, so there has to be a way of qualifying for IDP with that degree, but I cant figure out how. All of qualifications seem to involve NAAB approval. What would you recommend?
First, your degree, BA in Architecture is not eligible to be accredited by NAAB. What determines you eligibility in IDP is your current year and is your degree accepted for direct entry to a two-year NAAB Master of Architecture -- According to NCARB --

When can I start?
You can earn IDP experience once you have successfully completed:
next steps
1. Three years in an NAAB-accredited professional degree program;
2. The third year of a four year pre-professional degree program in architecture accepted for direct entry to a two-year NAAB- accredited professional master’s degree program;
3. One year in NAAB-accredited professional master’s degree program following receipt of a non- professional degree;
4. Ninety-six semester credit hours as evaluated in accordance with the NCARB Education Standard, of which no more than 60 hours can be in the general education category; or
5. A number of years equivalent to the periods set out in 1., 2., or 3. above, in a CACB-accredited professional degree program, or in a Canadian university professional degree program certified by CACB.

Where did you receive your BA in Architecture degree? If your degree is accepted to a NAAB Master of Architecture, you should be good; if not, you will need to wait until after you begin a graduate degree.

However, do know that NCARB is in the process of changing the eligibility dates. I would suggest contacting NCARB --

Dr. Architecture

Monday, September 6, 2010

Business to Architecture

I'm hoping you can help me.
I'm intersted in a career in architecture, but have my undergrad in Business Administration. What would be my career path now?
I'm 27 and have really just realized this is what I want to do.

I would first suggest you visit and consider obtaining Becoming an Architect, 2nd Ed.

With your degree, you are eligible to apply to the Master of Architecture (3-4 years) for those with a degree in another discipline such as business administration. To research programs, visit -- and --

Best in your path!

Dr. Architecture

Friday, September 3, 2010

Choosing a MArch Program

I've found your blog to be very insightful, and I would like to submit a question:

I'm looking at MArch programs to supplement my BArch. Is there any online resource that gives good descriptions of the leading programs?

I'm asking this question because I am attracted to the program at Columbia, but would like to know of others with a similar focus and a strong faculty connection to New York City.
Your best online resource is

ARCHSchools –
A companion website to the Guide to Architecture Schools compiled by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA), ARCHSchools provides a valuable resource for individuals seeking to pursue an architectural education. It provides the opportunity to search architecture programs and review descriptions on the over 100 universities offering accredited degree programs in architecture.

Dr. Architecture

Friday, August 27, 2010

BArch vs. MArch

I found your blog while I was trying to look up the difference between someone with a Bachelors in Architecture and a Masters in Architecture. In the professional world, is there much of a difference between the two as far as being hired goes, respect or pay wise? Is there any difference between the two except that one has a BArch and one has a MArch?

With respect to the licensure, there is no difference between the two. Both serve as the first NAAB accredited professional degree.

However, obviously they are different in terms of length and emphasis. In terms of the profession, they are different but probably only in the initial years after graduation. Depending on their individual background, employers may have a preference over one of the degrees more than the others, but that would be personal preference.

In other words, if I have a BArch, I may be more interested in graduates from a BArch program or likewise for the MArch. Ultimately, you choose a degree program based on your own criteria - one of which could be how the profession views the degree.

In the end, employers want to see your work and what you can do regardless of degree.

Dr. Architecture

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Becoming an architect with a non-architecture bachelor's degree

I am wondering what path I will have to take in order to become an architect when I'm graduating from a small liberal-arts school with a BA in art and art history. Can I move on to a master's program in architecture from here or do I need another bachelor's degree?

First, I suggest you check out the following blog that includes answers to questions I receive --

With your degree, you can easily apply to any number of Master of Architecture (3-4 years) for individuals like you that have an undergraduate degree in another discipline. There is no need to get another undergraduate degree. The true challenge is researching programs and developing your portfolios.

To research programs, visit the following:

Also, visit for ideas on how to develop your portfolio.

Dr. Architecture

Friday, August 20, 2010

Staying in Architecture

I am 27 years old. I obtained my BS in Architecture in 2005 from a NAAB accredited school. After graduation I started work as an intern at a respected small/ mid-sized residential architecture firm know best for traditional custom homes. Although traditional and classical styles are not my forte or particular passion, I thought of it as a great opportunity to learn more about them and get practical experience at a design-oriented firm. I always had good reviews about my work, but knew that to advance further I needed more education. So after working full-time for two years I returned to school in 2007 and continued working part-time at the same company. Since I was juggling a very tight schedule I thought that staying with the same company where I already knew the ropes would be the best thing to do at the time. Unfortunately the housing bubble burst and after asking all of the full-time employees to reduce their hours for six months the company had to start laying people off, including myself in February 2009. I then graduated with my Master of Architecture in May 2009.

Since then I have been looking for work and found few opportunities. I have been trying to stay in Atlanta because my significant other's career is taking off here and he has been getting a part time MBA. I truly believe that I belong in the design field in one respect or another, but I am beginning to wonder if I'm the only person that feels that way. I know that lots of people are out of work, but it's at an important point for me where I feel like I may have to leave to field. Can you recommend related careers that might not be so obvious? (I applied to be an architectural graphic designer -- sign design). Is it possible to get back to architecture after a departure from the field?

First, I am sorry to hear that you lost your architectural position; as you recognize, the architectural profession has been hit very hard by the economic situation.

At this point, I suggest you consider yourself as a set of skills that are marketable to employers rather than a career title. Instead of using the title of architect as your goal in the short term, analysis what skills you have developed through your architectural education and position. What did you learn?

Perhaps, most importantly, you learned how to design and the design process which can be transferred to a number of other disciplines. I always joke that all you need to do is place a word in front of designer and you have a career, i.e., interior designer, furniture designer, exhibit designer, graphic designer, industrial designer. As well, graduates now have superb digital skills compared to graduates from the previous generation -- this particular skill can relate to web design, graphic design and the like. One of my former students actually designs wedding invitations as a side business.

Architects are problem solvers and every employment sector needs that skill. Architects learn how to be creative, communicate graphically and orally, participate in a team environment and construct models. All of these skills are transferable to other positions in the short term until the profession rebounds.

The following link on has a list of related disciplines to consider:

Also, consider becoming an architect within employers other than traditional firms. Corporations, governments at all levels, educational institutions (teach CAD or drafting at a community college), developers, engineering and design firms all hire architects on staff or for contract work. Sometimes you have to think outside of the box.

Ultimately, you can reenter the profession, but the key is to stay engaged through reading, connecting with other architects (join the AIA or another professional association, maintaining or improving your skills, and set career goals that move you towards licensure; have your started your NCARB Council Record? In some states, you can actually begin to take portions of the ARE or you can gain credit towards IDP through community service or reviewing the EPC - Emerging Professionals Companion.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Becoming an Architect

I am an upcoming senior in high school and have a few questions that I could not necessarily find on your web site. My first question is what is the best way of going about getting a undergraduate degree in something other than in architecture, and then going on to graduate school to get a major in architecture and follow the steps of accreditation? More or less what are the best, most valuable or useful undergraduate degrees for becoming an architect?

I live in Indiana so my options for architectural degrees are limited (Ball State and Notre Dame) and while I would love to go out of state I'm not sure I can, so I'm wondering what would be best to go to college for that would help me in becoming a architect, other than the obvious pre-professional architectural undergraduate degree? Thank you very much for your helpful web site I have found a lot of useful information on it, and I'm hoping you can help me answer these questions. Once again thank you very much.

First, congrats on your desire to pursue architecture as a career path.

Next, there is no best way to pursue the education of an architect; you must research the different paths and discover which is best for you. With that being said, you can certainly pursue any discipline/degree in college first and then pursue the Master of Architecture (3-4 years). It does not matter the degree at the undergraduate level, but remember you will need to submit a portfolio as part of your application to the Master of Architecture. For this reason, you may wish to pursue a related degree in art and design, engineering, etc., but what is most important is that you enjoy the major and do well.

I understand fully that there are only two architecture programs in Indiana, but why can you not pursue programs in other states? I suggest you consider all programs by researching --

To determine the best college, you must first determine the criteria by which you will make the decision; next research the colleges, and make a decision on the best fit.

Be in touch with the college guidance counselor in your high school.

Dr. Architecture

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Architect Salary Question

I've been searching online for median salaries of an architect but I've seen a lot of extremes like extremely low salaries and extremely high salaries depending on the website.

What is the starting salary on average for an architect when they start out and how does the salary increase as they gain experience?

As you have learned, determining salaries is a difficult challenge because there are so many variables. Many salary survey data is available, but costs a considerable amount to obtain. Published by Architect Magazine, the 2009 salary below will begin to answer your question.

Below is some information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


Median annual wages of wage-and-salary architects were $70,320 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $53,480 and $91,870. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $41,320, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $119,220. Those just starting their internships can expect to earn considerably less.

Earnings of partners in established architectural firms may fluctuate because of changing business conditions. Some architects may have difficulty establishing their own practices and may go through a period when their expenses are greater than their income, requiring substantial financial resources.

Many firms pay tuition and fees toward continuing education requirements for their employees.

The starting salary of recent graduates will vary depending on their degree (BArch vs. MArch), firm size, location (Urban vs. Rural), amount of experience, etc. It is not an exact science.

When discussing this topic with students, I will state that starting salaries can start between 30 - 45K and will increase with experience again depending on the factors I listed above. When seeking employment, be sure to know your worth and how to negotiate.

Dr. Architecture

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Undergrad Major to Prepare for Architecture

First of all, I'd like to thank you for having such a helpful and informative website. It cleared up so much for me.

I am a high school senior aspiring to become an architect, and I'll soon be applying to many different colleges. Yet I'm having some difficulty.

When choosing a college or university, is it encouraged, recommended, or even absolutely necessary for me to apply somewhere that has an architectural program for undergraduates? If I applied somewhere with an undergraduate architecture program, will it give me a head start on my years of NAAB accredited education? Is it even possible to begin education in an NAAB accredited program as an undergraduate and still get credit?

Many schools that I have been thinking of applying to don't have an architectural program. What do you think about majoring in Art as an undergraduate and then pursuing a M.Arch after graduation? How would this compare to majoring in architecture as an undergraduate? Would I be behind? And if my school ended up WITHOUT an architectural program, would you more suggest majoring in engineering or arts?

And kind of a side question here: Is it unusual for an architect to also pursue a side career as an interior designer or an industrial designer? I'm very drawn to designing in general, architectural or not.

Sorry for the drastic number of questions. Thanks in advance!

To best answer your questions, you must understand the various paths to an accredited degree. -- There are basically three paths - 1) Bachelor of Architecture (5 years), 2) Master of Architecture (4+2 years), and 3) Master of Architecture (4 + 3-4 years). You may certainly begin an undergraduate degree in architecture paths 1 or 2, but you are not required to do so.

As you suggest, you may gain a degree in another discipline at the undergraduate level and pursue architecture strictly at the graduate level. Your idea to pursue a degree in art first is certainly valid, but understand that it will take longer to obtain the Master of Architecture. You will NOT be behind, but you will want need to submit a portfolio for your graduate program. Pursuing engineering, art, or another discipline is entirely up to you.

Architects are involved in many careers related to design - interior, furniture, etc. Perhaps not so much product design. If interested in design, I would suggest you consider disciplines in applied arts more than fine arts.

Feel free to ask more questions if needed.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Starting into Architecture

I am going into my senior year at Binghamton University. In May i'll be graduating with a BS in Mathematics. I was wondering if you could help me by giving me some sort of idea on what steps I would need to take to get into an architecture program. I'm not sure what, if any, prerequisites my math degree would fulfill towards a career in architecture. Any insight would be a great help.

First, review answer posted to the ARCHCareers blog -; you will find answers to questions similar to yours and others that may be helpful.

With your undergraduate degree in mathematics, you are eligible to apply to the Master of Architecture (3-4 years). There are about 50 programs or so. Begin to research programs via the following websites --

While researching programs, discover what prerequisites each program may require. Most require calculus; some will require physics and others may require freehand drawing and architectural history. To the extent possible, attempt to meet these during your senior year especially freehand drawing as you will need to submit a portfolio to each graduate program.

If possible, consider visiting some programs to learn about them but also to talk with current students. Looking at a map, the closest program may be Syracuse University.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

How to obtain a MArch?

I have a bachelor's degree in art and furniture design, and I am interested in pursuing a master's degree in architecture. I have began researching what steps I need to take in order to achieve this, but I am becoming discouraged because I have a poor GPA from my undergraduate work. I had always planned on getting an MFA, which is based heavily on portfolios for admissions, so I wasn't terribly worried about the fact that I graduated with a 2.6 GPA. To my knowledge most Admissions don't rely solely on GPA but a combination of GRE scores, letters of recommendation, and so on. If I apply to a program for which I don't meet the minimum GPA requirements am i wasting my time, or could admissions be swayed by exceptional test scores and portfolio?

Is there any advice you could give for someone looking for NAAB certified program that would accept a student with such a low GPA?

First, I suggest you review the ARCHCareers blog ( and consider obtaining Becoming an Architect, 2nd Edition available from

Given that your undergraduate GPA is less than the 3.00 GPA required by most graduate programs, I would suggest the following:

1) Obtain your transcript and fully analyze it; when did you get less than grades of B. What is your major GPA? What is your GPA over the last 60 credit hours or last two years? Why was your academic performance less than 3.00? Did you have reasons for your grades? Once you fully understand your academics, you can better provide your application.

2) Consider taking a graduate level course in architecture at a school as a non-degree student and perform well. By doing so, you can demonstrate your performance separate from you undergraduate.

3) Ensure that the other aspects of your application are stellar especially your portfolio. You are coming from a creative discipline, so ensure that your portfolio is strong.

4) Contact each school you are considering to inquire how to best submit your application with your academics.

You are not wasting your time, but do understand that most graduate programs typically have to support your application to the Graduate College when you do not meet the minimum requirement. By a strong portfolio or graduate level courses, you make it easier for them to write that support.

Dr. Architecture

Monday, August 2, 2010

New Career in Architecture

I am currently working in the offshore oil and gas field in Louisiana as an automation engineer. I have a bachelors in electrical engineering from the University of New Orleans, but I have always been interested in pursuing a career in Architecture. With the current state of the Gulf of Mexico and the oil and gas industry in general, I am considering steps toward a career change. The biggest issue is that I am 34 and have a house and family to support. Are there programs through accredited universities or colleges that offer online classes in architecture? I would imagine that credits from my current degree would transfer and I would have to physically be present in some situations, but I'm trying to see whats available and looking for a path forward. I appreciate any help or advice you could give.

To become an architect, you need to obtain a professional accredited degree in architecture. As you have an undergraduate degree, you are eligible to pursue the accredited Master of Architecture (3-4 years). For a list, visit the following: --


Unfortunately, no accredited degree can be done online. Two institutions have distance MArch, but you need to have a pre-professonal architecture degree - Boston Architectural College and Lawrence Technogical University.

Because of you family situation, you may wish to consider other careers within the building industry that do not require an architecture degree.

Dr. Architecture

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I want to build houses

I am a sophomore at Western Washington University. When I enrolled at WWU, I was undecided on what major I would like to pursue. During my Freshman year I took mostly math and physics classes because I those are my strongest subjects and I was fairly confident that I would end up deciding to pursue a major relating to one of those two fields. Recently I have been considering pursuing a career in home construction and architecture. I have a vision of owning a small construction company specializing in custom home design and construction.

I am emailing you to ask what would it take to make this happen. What kind of degree would be most valuable if I was looking to start a small business designing and building houses? I was thinking that I could get a bachelor's degree in business while at Western, and then go on to get a M.Arch degree after graduating from Western. Let me know what you think.

Given your vision of owning a small construction company, I would say that you obtaining a MArch degree after your business degree may not be the best route.

Remember, architects design buildings; they do not build them. Granted, you indicate that you company will specialize in both home design and construction, but when do you learn about the construction side of the business. I would suggest you consider a degree in construction or gaining direct experience in construction in conjunction with your degree in architecture. You may wish to consider the starting a design-build company that provides both design and construction services (

Websites to consider to research construction and architecture programs. Research architecture programs at to search for architecture programs that also have construction programs. A handful of institutions provide degrees in both architecture and construction.

Finally, recognize that a small percentage of architects design custom homes. I highly suggest you begin the process of contacting individuals or companies that do what you want to do to learn from them, do an internship, etc.

Dr. Architecture

Guidance Requested.

I ran across your blog today. I have been thinking about becoming an architect for years. My delay and ambivalence has had to do with raising/financing three kids, the growth in my own business, and the reality of life as an architect (my brother in law is one). Now, however, my youngest is in college, my design business is exceedingly slow, and I am definitely moving toward a change.

I have been thinking more and more seriously about getting a march I in architecture. There's part of me that's terrified of not being up to the mark, of being too old to tackle this. But I'm not sure that's my greatest impediment. (I took two courses at UCLA last fall and did well.) I'm old enough not to want to waste money and time in a formal 3 yr program unless I have a better idea of how I could fit into the world of architecture.

Wow - I will be honest. Most individuals that contact me are at the start of their career - i.e., students in school, recent graduates. Sometimes, I hear from a early to mid-career who wishes to pursue architecture, but your background is a first.

I will do my best, but it may be best to talk on the phone to brainstorm together.

First, given your design-related background and that you have between 25-40 years of productive work life, I would suggest you go for it - become an architect. Philip Johnson did not become licensed until he was 39 and practiced the craft into his 90s until he passed away.

Clearly, you have many developed skills to offer the marketplace; perhaps the question is whether or not you do it on your own or part of another firm. Of course, as you admit - where do you go with this. One source you may wish to access is the book - What Color is Your Parachute? by Richard Bolles (Ten Speed Press). Next to the Bible, this is the best selling book; Bolles helps readers determine the next step for their career.

Other than reading, I would suggest you begin to truly network with other design professionals as you may already be doing. Be willing to share your story of who you are and ask for ideas on what to do. You are LEED and I am sure you could serve as a consultant.

Granted becoming an architect will take some years (5-6), but will it be worthwhile. I have been in education for almost 20 years and did have a student entering our MArch program in his mid-50s with a Ph.D. in Mech Eng. He brought a great deal to the program despite he was older than some of the faculty. He is gainfully employed in the profession soon to be licensed.

Bottom line - discover what you love and find the opportunites that allow you to pursue your passion -- i.e, find your passion and find someone to pay you to do it. I have had the fortunate to do that for almost 20 years.

Best -- If you wish to discuss via phone, let me know as I can serve as a consultant. Do look at my book, Becoming an Architect, 2nd Edition.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Architecture Career Questions

Thank you for creating such a helpful and aesthetic website. ARCHcareers has helped me navigate the architecture industry through the plethora of resources. However, I have quite a dilemma that I felt you may be able to provide some insight on. Currently I am working as an intern at a major investment bank in Manhattan. I always thought I wanted to pursue finance, and to be fair, it is interesting. However, I feel as if architecture must be an integral part of my life at some point. I cannot stop looking up out here or researching every skyscraper I come across.

I am majoring in Finance at SMU in Dallas, but have realized they do not offer an Architecture program (other than art history). I have absolutely no background in architecture but have a basic knowledge of the field. The only reason I feel so strongly about a career is architecture is because I think I would be good at it. My other career endeavors were driven by needs not entirely fit. I've always had architecture in the back of my mind.

A degree in architecture and certification I think are the very basic qualifications. Following that would probably be an internship and full-time job at a major firm like SMO. Are there other paths to be taken? I have an impressive pedigree otherwise having studied at Oxford University, maintaining a perfect GPA, remaining close with several politicians, and now at one of the most reputable firms on Wall Street. I fear it may be too late to transfer (I am technically a junior in the fall but really I am younger and on the 3 yr plan).

I have infinite ambitions and intense dedication in everything I truly enjoy doing. I think it would be one of the most fulfilling and satisfying careers out there. If I could sum up my thoughts of architecture I would use the following quote by Philip Johnson:

"I like the thought that what we are to do on this earth is embellish it for its greater beauty," he said, "so that oncoming generations can look back to the shapes we leave here and get the same thrill that I get in looking back at theirs -- at the Parthenon, atChartres Cathedral."

Please let me know if you have any suggestions, thoughts, or alternative ideas about breaking into the architecture field and moving up quickly. Thank you for your time.

Kind regards,

I very much appreciate your comments on ARCHCareers; given your interest in becoming an architect, may I also suggest you obtain Becoming an Architect, 2nd edition available from You may also wish to review the blog --

Given your desire is to now become an architect, you will wish to pursue an accredited degree in architecture. You may either complete your studies in finance or any B.A./B.S. degree to than pursue a Master of Architecture (3-4 years) designed for those with an undergraduate in a discipline other than architecture. For a list of programs visit and/or --. During the remainder of your undergraduate studies, you will want to pursue art/drawing courses as you will need to submit a portfolio as part of your MArch application.

As well, I would try to visit architecture programs either in NY during the remainder of your internship or in Texas upon your return to Dallas in the fall. Ask lots of question of faculty and current architecture students.


Dr. Architecture